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Identities and Histories

Politics and Women’s Writings in Bengal


Exploring the interface between women’s writings and politics over four decades in Bengal, the author emphasizes the relationships of power that encompass the politics of the private: the sexual politics in everyday life between men and women in the family, in public institutions and in political parties. As the author suggests, in spite of a huge, rich and varied corpus of writing on the political history of modern Bengal, very few historians have engaged with how politics construct gender and gender constructs politics in contextually specific ways (Joan Scott 1999). Yet much of feminist history writing doesn’t question the field of power itself (Janaki Nair 2008). The author explores the connections between public politics, cultural construction of gender and the writings of the second generation of women writers, many of whom were active in the public sphere for the first time. She takes up 5 journals, of which 3 were founded and run by women, and a daily newspaper. The women’s journals are Jayasree (from 1931), Mandira (from 1938), these two were by women’s groups active in the revolutionary terrorist movement and Ghare Baire (from1948; women workers of the communist movement), Probasi (1901, Bengal’s then most prestigious literary journal), Saogat (1926, first generation middle class Muslim women) and a daily newspaper, Swadhinata (1945, the mouthpiece of the CPI). Thus the author considers journalistic writings by women for four decades, attempting to throw light on the history of writing by women in the public domain, showing how structure and forms of public institutions intersect with definitions of masculinity and femininity and why women continue to share so little formal and institutional power in literary, educational, economic and political organizations.

Author: Sarmistha Dutta Gupta
Year: 2010
Price: Rs. 700
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 250
Dimensions: 8.4 in x 5.7 in x 0.9 in
Publisher: STREE
Sales Restriction:
ISBN 13: 9788190676021

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